The History of Weill and Long PLLC
Weill & Long PLLC traces its distinguished history to 1914, when two prominent East Tennessee attorneys established a joint practice in Chattanooga. In the century since, members of the firm have held leadership positions in the Chattanooga Bar Association as well as community civic organizations. Most importantly, they have successfully represented thousands of clients throughout the region, building a strong reputation in civil litigation that continues to grow to this day.
1914 – Thomas Turley Rankin of Jasper and Fred Frazier of Dayton established the firm of Rankin & Frazier in downtown Chattanooga. Both graduated from the University of Tennessee School of Law. Rankin, the older partner, was an early member of the local bar association and would later serve two terms as president, in 1926 and 1927. In the early 1930s, he would leave the firm for Washington, DC, where he was appointed lead counsel for two federal agencies under the successive Roosevelt and Truman administrations.
Fred Frazier began his career as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in his native Rhea County, where he was soon appointed head of the school system. He later decided to pursue the study of law, graduating from UT. After practicing in Chattanooga with his relative, the former Tennessee Governor and U.S. Senator J.B. Frazier, he joined Rankin in partnership. Frazier would remain with the firm for 40 years. During that time, he was twice elected Chattanooga’s superintendent of education and founded the first Savings and Loan association in the city.
1920 – Joseph Roberts joined Rankin and Frazier as an associate member. After several years, he became a partner in the firm of Rankin, Frazier & Roberts. The son of a farming family in Riceville, Roberts turned his sights to law instead. His education was interrupted by service in World War I, after which he sold patent medicines to earn enough money to enroll in the UT School of Law. His distinguished career included the presidency of the Chattanooga Bar Association in 1937 and a founding trustee of the McKenzie School Division of Law. He would serve the firm for 53 years.
1940 – Joseph Roberts hired an associate fresh out of Harvard Law School – Chattanooga native Harry Weill – to join the firm of Frazier & Roberts. Weill was at the firm only a few months when he was summoned to military service as a bomber pilot during World War II. He returned to the firm in 1946 and, within a few years, became a partner in Frazier, Roberts & Weill. During a legal career that spanned 60 years, Harry Weill would become senior partner and guiding force in the firm and one of the leading attorneys in the community. He received Chattanooga Bar Association’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2004, and one year after his death in 2005, the Bar Association presented the first annual Harry Weill Zealous Practice of Law Award in tribute to his revered style of legal representation.
1955 – After Fred Frazier’s departure from the firm to practice with his son, French, Joseph Roberts and Harry Weill formed Roberts & Weill. The two attracted a number of talented attorneys to their expanding offices on the eleventh floor of the Volunteer Building. The name over the door would lengthen to include Walter Ellis, Kyle Weems and Glenn Copeland. When Joseph Roberts died in 1973 while still practicing at the age of 84, the firm became Weill, Ellis, Weems & Copeland. It would remain so for another decade.
1976 – Flossie Weill joined Weill, Ellis, Weems & Copeland after graduating from Smith College and UT College of Law. The daughter of Harry Weill, she began practicing when there were but a handful of female members of the Chattanooga Bar Association. She quickly earned the respect of clients and colleagues in a career that now spans over 35 years. She was twice elected president of the local Brock-Cooper Chapter of American Inns of Court, a national legal society. Under her leadership, the chapter won the national award for Best Special Project and was named to the Circle of Excellence, recognizing the top three percent of chapters in America. In 2009, she was named a Fellow of the Chattanooga Bar Foundation.
2002 – Ira Long, Jr., nephew of Harry Weill and cousin of Flossie Weill, joined the firm of Weill, Weill & Long PLLC as a partner. A graduate of Tulane University School of Law, he practiced for 20 years in Denver, Colorado before returning to his hometown of Chattanooga to continue his career. He was quickly elevated to leadership positions by members of the local legal community. He served as president of the Chattanooga Trial Lawyers Association in 2006 and he served as the president of the Chattanooga Bar Association in 2011. He and Flossie Weill formed the firm of Weill & Long PLLC on April 1, 2007, with offices on the twelfth floor of the downtown Tallan Building.
With a proud legacy of legal representation spanning ten decades to guide the firm, Weill & Long PLLC continues to strive to offer the finest in services to each and every client. Assisting in this mission is a highly knowledgeable, seasoned and courteous professional staff. It includes Brenda Walters, who has been with the firm since 1980 and James Hobbs, who joined the firm in 2002. They are instrumental in the thorough preparation of cases and positive day-to-day contact with those the firm serves.